Writers Anyone?

Published September 13, 2012 by Ms. Nine

Sometimes I view my writing as a silly folly.  Truthfully, I don’t  know what it means to be a writer.  What does a writer look like, act like, or think like? Can I play the part convincingly? I went to a writers’ Meetup group to find out.

In the corner of a Barnes and Noble, a group of writers set folding chairs in a circle.  Some of them brought copies of their work to share, others came to listen and critique.  The group’s moderator, a quiet and thoughtful man, invited members to introduce themselves.

I took notes.  Here were people who wrote poetry, short stories, screen plays, memoirs, essays, and novels.  None of them admitted to being a blog writer (including me).  I wondered why.

For this meeting, writers brought flash or short works (1000 words or less).  I brought a blog entry that fit the specs. For the next few hours, we shared and critiqued each other.  The process takes courage, love, and spot-on feedback.

Toward the end of the meeting. the moderator reminded members to give him their web addresses.  So that’s why no one admitted to being a blog writer – having a blog is a given.  Gosh, I’m  dumb. The moderator wanted to promote them on the MeetUp message board.  Nice perk, right?

I know I have a lot to learn about being a writer.  But at this Meetup, I learned that writers are real people just like me.

If you’ve ever tried a writers’ group, what was it like for you?

Thanks for stopping by!

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34 comments on “Writers Anyone?

  • Anyone can call themselves a writer – it’s the upgrade to Author that’s the important ditinction. A writer can jot down poems, note the weather and people’s behaviour on a daily or less regular basis and generally put pen to paper for the rest of their lives. That’s writing, whenther it be kept in a drawer or published as a diary / anthology.

  • I joined a NaNoWriMo group that kind of morphed into a writer’s group. After NNWM, we do more critiquing, but most of the time we get together and write and/or talk about writing or about issues in a story. And some of us offer to do a basic beta sweep of scenes or a whole story.

    It’s a nice small group. Most writer’s groups are too big for me, I too easily get lost. I like the small group because it’s more like friends who write rather than a professional-type meeting.

  • Sounds like a good experience. I’m glad you found a group that you liked! I think the right group can be a good thing.

    I am not part of a writing group for several reasons, mainly it’s my schedule. They either meet far away (not driving 20 miles to go to one) and it’s hard to meet up during the week with kids’ homework, Cub Scouts, band, etc. My writing (when it happens) is done after 9PM and I can’t exactly meet somewhere then :) Perhaps it’s be an option when I’m in a different phase of my life. We’ll see.

    • I know exactly what you mean! When my children were young, a writers’ group would have been out of the question. Teaching and raising my four daughters left little time for anything else.
      Now that I’m retired, well, my schedule is open. :)

  • Hi there, Ms. Nine – I’m actually in the writer’s group you mentioned, though I wasn’t able to make it last night. Nice to semi-meet you here – hopefully I can make it to next month’s meeting (hate that I missed a flash fiction fantasia night!).

    • Hey Julie! During the summer, I met a few writers at the library for a ‘writing time’ meet up. The location was not convenient so I held a few writing sessions on the other side of town. Last night was the first flash meeting for me. What fun! Mickey does a great job moderating.
      Next month a few writers will be sharing their longer pieces or wips. I plan to attend and hope to see you there.
      Nice to meet you here, Julie. Thanks for introducing yourself ahead of time.

  • On occasion, I’m a writer. Mostly though, not even close, and then “writer” feels like… I don’t know… hubris or something, so… inkspiller works for me. And since I write with fountain pens, is often quite literal! :-)

    I don’t think I’m a big “group” person, though it might be fun to try – once!

    • I love your work as “inkspiller”. I’m curious about the occasions when you consider yourself a writer.
      If I call myself a writer, one day I will believe it.

      Until then, I’ll hang with writers – online and in person – and take in the juju.

      Thanks for hanging with me.

  • The cool thing about writers is there’s no one certain “type”!

    This type of writing group sounds really interesting. I’ve only been part of groups that have been purposely planned out. I’ve discovered I’m picky about who is in my writing group :) It would be a different experience to get thrown together with strangers, but it’s a great way to meet people.

      • I was invited into a group through a woman that I knew pretty well. I ended up leaving that group recently and have started meeting with another woman that I also knew fairly well.

        The downside to doing it this way is that it can be hard to stay focused on writing when you know people well and consider them friends. The conversation can quickly get off track unless you are diligent about staying focused.

  • Great blog, Ms Nine.

    Congrats on joining a writers group. IMHO, it’s the best thing for feedback and growth.

    I’ve been fortunate to belong to a wonderful writers group for the past four years, and it helps that we all write in the same genre. (Romance, woman’s fiction or fiction with romantic elements). The members in our group, 154 and counting, all benefit from one another, and believe it or not, egos are checked at the door.

    I met my critiquing partner at my writing group, and he’s, (yes, I said he) the best thing that has happened to my writing in a long time. He writes beautiful historical fiction, with romantic elements. However, my more contemporary, spicy romance balances out the two.

    My advice is to find a group closer to the genre in which you write. It doesn’t have to be a large group, intimate groups work just as well. Check libraries, Yahoo groups and even supermarkets for people advertising their group.

    If I can be of assistance, just shoot me an email. I’m all for helping a fellow writer.

    Best,
    Nett

    • Wow! Four years. And you have a critiquing partner. That’s a fantastic benefit.
      I found this group through Meetup. I will try your suggestions for finding others.
      Thanks so much for your comment.

  • A writer’s group can be a big crap shoot. I once sat on a writer’s group held at a B&N, and, let me tell you, that was a snob fest. Admittedly, my writing wasn’t that particularly good at the time – this was about 10 years ago – but I got the prevailing sense that unless I was writing either some mainstream fiction, it wasn’t worth their time.

    “Well, your writing is…shall we say…’gritty.’” Ugh, the condescension was killing me.
    So I avoided writers groups like the plague.

    Luckily, I’ve recently found a writer’s group (through Meetup as well) that’s open, receptive, and very welcoming of writers that focus on specific genres. The point to a writer’s group is to provide valid critiques, and support.

  • Isn’t it funny how even writers themselves expect other writers to impart superhero tendencies? Occasionally I’ll find myself nervous while speaking to a writer I admire, and then I remember, hey wait, they’re human, just like me, no different.

    I have yet to join a crit-group or any writer’s group, actually. I want to, I have intentions of doing so, but then I just don’t. I can imagine being part of such a group would be of great benefit, not to mention having a cluster of support and feedback. I hope you continue to enjoy this group!

    Blessings,
    Cara

  • Ms. Nine,
    Question, serious question: what allows oneself to be called a…writer?
    Are there “rules” to be followed first…or is the writer moniker…open ended?
    Personal choice, perhaps? Anointed?

    Apologies…that’s more than one question and might require a post?
    Thank you very much.

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